After sitting out the last three games with a knee injury, Kawhi Leonard's return was a struggle.
He scored 17 points on 7-of-20 shooting and was an uncharacteristic -2 in his 38 minutes of action but he did a little bit of everything else (six rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks) including a clutch block on Kemba Walker's game-tying attempt in overtime.
Kawhi gets a piece to seal the OT win for the @LAClippers! #PhantomCam #ClipperNation pic.twitter.com/VXDFXJntXT- NBA (@NBA) November 21, 2019
Nonetheless, the win marks the first game that All-NBA players Leonard and Paul George played together for the Clippers.
Thunderous slams.- NBA (@NBA) November 21, 2019
Big time hustle.
Relive the final minutes, as the @LAClippers topped the @celtics in a thrilling OT finish! pic.twitter.com/KHXQB5xeNr
From a thrilling contest against the East's best in the Boston Celtics, here are the biggest takeaways:
Patrick Beverley does everything
In a game that will be marked as the first where All-NBA level talent in Leonard and George played alongside the league's best bench combo in Montrezel Harrell and Lou Williams, it was Patrick Beverley who walked off as the biggest contributor.
He recorded a near triple-double, finishing with a career-high in rebounds and a season-high seven assists.
The point guard from Chicago got it done tonight. Patrick Beverley was made for primetime.- SLAM (@SLAMonline) November 21, 2019
- 14 points (12 in the 4th/OT)
- 16 rebounds
- 7 assists
- 3 steals
- 2 blocks pic.twitter.com/0kUVZEv925
And late in overtime, he knocked down this crucial corner triple:
Patrick Beverley been a BUCKET in crunch time. That's a shooter. (via @nba) pic.twitter.com/ChmXg7sQMQ- SLAM (@SLAMonline) November 21, 2019
Playing a game-high 41 minutes, he shot an efficeint 4-of-7 from long distance and was a game-high +17.
Defense sets trend early on
Given the first half both teams grinded out, it was fitting that the game ended on a defensive play. Some of it could be credited to both teams' struggling from beyond the 3-point line early on.
At the half, the Clippers led 42-40, scores that teams normally have very early in the second quarter. Both teams were a combined 5-of-33 (15.1%) from the 3-point line with the Celtics only going 1-of-18 through the first two quarters.
Jayson Tatum did hit the clutch go-ahead 3-pointer to force overtime but the C's still finished the game shooting 12-of-45 (26.7%) from long distance, way-off their average of 35.4%
It should come as no surprise though, as both teams were ranked among the top 11 in defensive rating, heading into this game.
Over the course of the entire game, the Celtics, who averages a league-best 12.8 turnovers, committed 18 while the Clippers, who average 17.1, turned the ball over 23 times.
Clippers' best players sparkle in crunch time
This game was the first time the Clippers would have their four-best players out on the floor at the same time and this line-up, irrespective of the fifth man was a success.
Leonard, George, Williams, and Harrell played 13 minutes together including a majority of the final ten minutes of the game. They finished with an impressive net rating of 34.9 in a total of 13 minutes from this contest, great numbers for their first game together.
In crunch time, they helped the Clippers bounce back from a seven-point deficit with just over two minutes left in regulation.
George continued his great return from injury, scoring 25 points while also dishing out eight assists. Off the bench, Lou Williams top-scored for the team with 27 points. Talking about this group together, more importantly, their four-best players, Lou Williams emphasized how their final quarter was a glimpse of how things to come
"We just buckled down, looked at each other and said, "Let's get stops and start gettin' buckets."- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) November 21, 2019
🎤 @TeamLou23 on the OT win. pic.twitter.com/AwGIJtH6BS